Basketball, Sports

Federal government drops charges on AAU director in basketball bribery scandal, Miami looks to be clean

SPORTS_CoachL_JW.jpg

Coach Jim Larrañaga addresses the media about the state of the team during a press conference after a win against Western Carolina University on Nov. 11, 2016. As of Feb. 13, it appeared Larrañaga and Miami were freed from the burden of an FBI probe into the university's basketball program for alleged bribery. Photo credit: Josh White

It seems that head basketball coach Jim Larrañaga and the University of Miami can take a breath of relief after news came out Feb. 13 that federal charges against former AAU program director Jonathan Augustine have been dropped.

In September 2017, Augustine was reported to have been involved in the process of funneling money through Adidas to bribe specific high school basketball players to commit to Miami and Louisville – both of which are Adidas-sponsored schools.

Thus, Miami was probed.

The FBI Investigation of the NCAA corruption scandal has been ongoing for more than two years. According to an ESPN Report, a spokesman for the U.S. District Court of Southern New York confirmed that the U.S. Attorney’s Office asked a federal judge to drop the charges last week, and the case was confirmed to be closed on Tuesday.

It looks like, by association, Miami is clear in the investigation.

Larrañaga repeatedly said from the start of the investigation that neither he nor his staff has any knowledge of any wrongdoing by their program. On Oct. 18, he received a grand jury subpoena for texts, emails and other records that have anything to do with the case.

“There’s nothing there,” one of Larrañaga’s attorneys said. “We’re trying to get them to admit they made a mistake and move on.”

Larrañaga has been cooperative with federal authorities for weeks since the investigation started, handing over all records that could relate to the probe. He was also interviewed by the FBI at Miami international Airport when the probe started.

In a press conference Feb. 16, Larrañaga chose not to comment on the situation.

“No comment, my attorneys handle all of that,” Larrañaga said.

For background of the scandal, click here and here.

This story will be updated as more information becomes available.

February 16, 2018

Reporters

Isaiah Kim-Martinez

Isaiah Kim-Martinez can be reached on Twitter at @isaiah_km.


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